Annual Report 2002 - Cornell University
003 Selected Faculty Research

12 Supplying battery power for nanomachines

Amit Lal, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and research staff created a battery that powers increasingly smaller electronic circuits and nanomachines such as remote sensors. The microscopic device converts the energy stored in the radioactive material directly into motion, which could move parts of a tiny machine or generate electricity in a form that is more useful for circuits. The device, in which Lal used only radioactive isotopes that emit beta particles, can supply power for decades. Unlike chemical batteries, the device can work in a very wide range of temperatures. Possible applications for the new battery include sensors to monitor the condition of missiles stored in sealed containers, long-term concealed and unattended battlefield sensors, and medical devices implanted in the body. An entire device, including a vacuum enclosure, can be made to fit in less than one cubic millimeter.

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© 2003 by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research [OVPR], Cornell University.

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